Nigeria investigates a dayslong oil spill from a Shell pipeline in a region already blighted by pollution

Nigerian authorities and Shell’s local subsidiary were on Monday investigating the cause of an oil spill on the Trans Niger pipeline that lasted several days.

The spill from the 180,000-barrel-a-day, which happened at Eleme in Rivers State in south Nigeria, was detected on June 11. Four days later it was confirmed by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited in a statement.

Environmental rights groups said the spill lasted a week before it was contained.

Representatives from Shell, the Nigerian Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, and local communities were at the site on Monday to gather information, analyze data, examine physical evidence, and assess the causes of the leak, said Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, which monitors spills in the Niger Delta.


A Shell spokesperson confirmed Monday’s visit to the site.

The investigation will determine the volume of oil spilled.

Shell has, over the years, faced several legal battles focused on oil spills in the Niger Delta, a region blighted by pollution, conflict and corruption related to the oil and gas industry.

The oil major blames most of the spills on pipeline vandalism and illegal tapping of crude.

Thandile Chinyavanhu, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Africa, said the latest spill compounded Shell’s record in one of Africa’s leading oil producing nations.

“Shell must be held accountable and financially responsible for this spill and for its neocolonial role in causing climate loss and damage,” Chinyavanhu said.

She added, “as we approach global climate talks, COP28, world leaders must be prepared to make polluters pay.”